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Widow Of Man Fatally Injured By ‘Defective’ Work Vehicle Issues Health And Safety Warning To Companies


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

The widow of a man fatally injured by his work lorry is using Workers’ Memorial Day to warn businesses of the importance of maintaining safety standards at all times.

Pete Coleman died after suffering head and pelvic injuries when he was dragged under his vehicle while collecting refuse from Woodside Leisure Park in Watford.

An inquest concluded that Pete’s death was caused by an accident during the course of his work. Faults in his vehicle had contributed to the 54-year-old’s death, the hearing found.

Pete’s widow Bev, is now joining her legal team at Irwin Mitchell to warn businesses about the need to ensure the safety of staff at all times. It comes ahead of Workers’ Memorial Day on Saturday, 28 April.

Expert Opinion
Employers are still taking chances with safety in the workplace and people, such as Pete, are still dying as a result.

“Pete was going about his daily work when this accident occurred. We believe that his death sadly illustrates the devastating consequences that can occur when companies do not follow health and safety guidelines.

“Workers’ Memorial Day is a time to remember those who have died in the workplace but to also campaign for improvements. We join Bev in calling for all employers to recognise the need of upholding health and safety standards at all times.

“We will continue to support Bev and her family in their fight for justice following Pete’s death.”
Sofie Toft, Senior Associate Solicitor

Pete, of Dunstable, Bedfordshire, was employed by waste management firm F & R Cawley Limited.

At around 6.30am on 11 October, 2014, the father-of-two and grandfather-of-four, had got out of the cab to collect two commercial bins and had applied the handbrake.

However, an inquest last year was told that the vehicle which was unroadworthy due to a brake defect, moved off when Pete operated its lifting mechanism, trapping him under the rear wheels. The vehicle then caught fire. 

Pete was taken to taken to Watford General Hospital where he died as a result of his injuries.

Irwin Mitchell is working with Bev to help secure the future of her family following the tragedy.

Bev, said: “It may be more than three years since Pete died but the pain our family still feels is as raw as the day he died.

“Pete was everything to our family and there’s not a day goes by when we don’t think of him.

“Nothing can turn back the clock and bring my husband back, but I hope that by speaking out about the huge gap Pete’s death has left in all of our lives, it reminds companies about the importance of keeping workers safe and protecting them from potential hazards.

“I’m determined that Pete’s death will not be in vain and, I hope one day to see justice for the fact our children have been left without their father.”

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in handling workplace injury cases.